Do you ever take the time to step back, look at your life, and acknowledge all of the blessings you've been given? And if so, how often? I certainly do not focus enough on the aspects of my life that make me an enormously lucky person; family, friends, education...my life.
The 9/11 Memorial acts as a velvet hammer in its manner of strongly making an impact on viewers, but in a quiet, personal way. I began to feel goosebumps on my arms as I approached the property. Seeing such an immense area of Manhattan so empty creates a sense of eeriness that is not often found in the city. Rain was lightly falling, and as I walked through the entrance, I saw viewers exiting in tight embrace as they walked, some with swollen eyes and tears falling down their cheeks. In those moments, my heart broke repeatedly. Who were these people, and how were they related to the victims? College roommates? Best friends? Family members? Or simply, people without direct-relationship who had come to pay their respects to the thousands that perished on the day that has forever been cemented into the memories of Americans?
I, for one, fell into a meditative state as soon as I entered the memorial. Everyone was quiet. The sound of the majestic waterfalls acted as white noise, allowing me to cope with my emotions and feelings in a private way. Visiting the memorial provides a beautiful and humbling opportunity to pay respects and re-discover what you have in your life that makes you thankful.
Oh! Also, if you are planning on visiting the memorial, and don't want to wait in line for 2 hours, pre-reserve tickets online here. Admission is free, but reserving a spot in a particular time slot costs $2.00. I definitely encourage you to go this route - worth it.